Best Songwriter (2011)

Arboles Libres

According to Arboles Libres' good buddy and label boss, Forward Motion Records exec Fernando Perdomo, this three-man crew of folksy Spanglish psychedelicists "can read each other's minds." And no doubt, there is proof of telepathy in the band's recorded output, especially sonic trips such as "The Spirit Of" and "Yellow Man." The songwriting is hyperintuitive, totally effortless, and superevolved. But live, that's when you can really hear (and sometimes see) the psychic energy pinging back and forth among frontman Juan "Nacho" Londono, guitar guy Eddie Moreno, and drummer Anthony Genovese. Somehow, even in moments of complete disarray, Los Arboles makes it all seem perfectly seamless. Case in point: A midnight set at Tobacco Road on Friday, November 11, 2010. One cut ends and the next, "Comienzos," begins with a silent countdown — one, two, three, four — as Nacho and Eddie ramble into the opening guitar riff and Anthony starts banging away. Nacho leans over the mike, smiling behind long hair. A cigarette dangles from Eddie's bottom lip while he eats a plate of French fries between drags and chord changes. And Anthony is so excited that he can't sit down. But then Nacho's guitar self-destructs, four strings suddenly snapping. And just when lesser outfits might stop, stall, or step offstage, Los Arboles roll with the chaos. Eddie runs off to do repairs, Anthony rips into a drum solo, and Nacho leads a spontaneous sing-along as "Comienzos" corkscrews into completely unforeseen territory. It's a song set free by disaster. And it's being rewritten on the fly by a band blessed with collective consciousness, total fearlessness, and a strange sonic connection to the flow of the universe.


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